Passerbys and police help Brian find his bench

17:00 08 July 2014

Brian Swallow sitting on his wife Vera

Brian Swallow sitting on his wife Vera's bench that has been returned to the Byes. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shs 2032-27-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

A pensioner who was left saddened after a bench dedicated to his late wife was stolen in Sidmouth has told of his happiness after it was found.

Brian Swallow says he was ‘delighted’ when told that the bench had been recovered and admitted he did not think he would get it back.

He paid for the seat to be installed in the Byes as a lasting tribute to 58 years of marriage to his best friend, Vera, who died in 2009.

For Brian, it is a moment of ‘vindication’ to savour – and he has thanked the public, police and the Herald for their help in tracking down the memento.

“I was delighted when I was told it had been found,” he said. “I thought it would be found – but broken up in a river.

“I feel vindicated for going public and have met quite a lot of people who stopped me in the street to tell me how sorry they were.”

Brian, who lives in the Fortescue area, has re-bolted the bench to its fittings, which were undone when the bench was ripped from them.

He intends to leave it in its original spot and says an ‘increase’ of people are now using the bench.

He added: “I would like to thank the public and the police for their efforts.

“I am absolutely delighted that it has been found. It shows how Sidmouth people work as a community.”

The bench was found after three people phoned police, having spotted the seat in the Byes.

PCSO Phil Thomas said: “The seat was hidden under a large tree.

“It was obviously being used by youngsters to sit, relax and smoke.”

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